Thursday, October 22, 2020

Just in time for Halloween, it’s Bat Week

Set the mood for a natural Halloween while learning about bats! Each year, Bat Week provides a focus on bats, their life history, and conservation efforts. This year, Bat Week will be held October 24th-31st.Little Brown Bat hangs upside down from gray rock

New York State is home to nine species of bats. They are found all over the state, including New York City. Three species migrate to warmer locations for the winter and the others hibernate during the coldest months. You can learn more about NY’s bats by downloading the DEC bat brochure. Detailed information on three of our bats, Little Brown BatIndiana Bat, and Northern Long-eared Bat can be found on DEC’s Watchable Wildlife page. Click here for an Almanack post earlier this week on a red bat sighting.

Did you know that many of our favorite foods are pollinated by bats? Visit Bat Week’s education page for a downloadable cookbook featuring foods we enjoy thanks to bats! You can also find videos, posters, crafts, and activities to share with your classroom. For older students, Bat Week’s Take Action page provides links to webinars, plans to build a bat house, and a bat tracker.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Eastern Red Bat sighting

red batHalloween came early this year at the CATS Ancient Oak Trail when CATS Development Director, Derek Rogers, noticed a bat flying around the meadow area adjacent to the forest. It was actively feeding on insects and made a few close passes, allowing for some fun flight photographs.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

DEC: Be on the lookout for moose sightings this fall

Early fall is the breeding season for moose in northern New York and moose sightings are more common. During this time moose are wandering looking for mates, leading them to areas where they are not typically seen. While this improves the opportunities for people to enjoy sighting of a moose, it also increases the danger of colliding with one on the roadway.

Motorists should be alert for moose on roadways in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas at this time of year during peak moose activity, advises the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Moose are much larger and taller than deer. Their large body causes greater damage, and, when struck, their height often causes them to impact the windshield of a car or pickup truck, not just the front of the vehicle. New York has no recorded human fatalities resulting from a crash with a moose.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Rainbows: Beyond the Arch

rainbowRainbows require two things: sunlight, and water. Rainbows can be seen not just in the rain but also in the mist, spray, fog, and dew. 

The best place to consistently find both of these things and spot a complete rainbow, is a tall mountain or ridge where it is or has just rained, making the Adirondack high peaks an amazing place to view this natural wonder. A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.  Similar to a mirage, a rainbow is formed when light rays bend, creating an effect that is visible, but not able to be touched or approached. 

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Striped Maples: Changes happening below the surface

striped mapleDuring the fall, a change occurs with maple trees that is prominent and apparent.  As the daylight hours decrease green leaves turn to colors of vibrant yellow, burnt orange and an array of shades of red. 

There is a list of species of Maples that add to this colorful splendor, from Sugar, Norway, Amur and more but one in particular changes more than its leaf color — the Striped Maple. 

Many people have a hard time identifying the different species of maple by the bark in Summer but the Striped Maple possess a smooth, variegated green, reptilian-looking bark that can be noticed with ease. 

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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Adirondack Moose Sightings: Rare and Majestic

Most of New York’s moose are located in the Adirondack Mountains and the Taconic Highlands along the Massachusetts and Vermont borders although young males have been known to wander south of the Adirondacks to mate and establish territory.

It is estimated that approximately 400 moose reside here in the mountains. Currently there are six moose in New York that carry GPS collars, which allow biologists to track their movements and determine the number of calves that are born to adult females.

The moose is the largest and heaviest species in the deer family. Two of the most amazing attributes of a moose are its sheer size and its antlers.

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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Weekend read: Fall and animals

We’ve had a lot of history stories this week from contributors, which has been great! But I realized we were short on nature/wildlife content so I pulled a few from the Almanack archive:


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Webs in the Trees? – They’re Relatively Harmless 

It’s starting to feel very much like fall around here. Days are getting shorter, leaves are changing color, temperatures are cooler (some of us have already seen a frost or two; even a freeze), air conditioners are silent, pumpkin-spiced food and beverages are available at several coffee shops and fast food establishments, schools have reopened (sort of), and fall webworms are here en masse in places all across the North County.

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Friday, September 18, 2020

Adirondack Monarch Tagging:  Tracking Migration

Monarch butterflies are an iconic species, easily recognized by their vibrant orange and black wings speckled with white dots and can be seen feeding in fields and open areas here in the Adirondacks.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Evolution of the Canadian Lynx and the American Bobcat

The Eurasian Lynx entered North America across the Bering Land Bridge about 2.5 million years ago, in the first of two waves. Glaciers waxed and waned, alternately blocking and opening Beringia, as well as migration paths down to what would become the U.S. border and Canadian province areas, a classic example of how one species gets separated by changing land and sea features, the two groups then evolving in different directions, until representatives of one group can no longer mate, thus resulting in two species. The second wave, coming with melting of northern glaciers evolved into the Canadian Lynx.

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Friday, September 11, 2020

Winged With Hope: Fixing broken monarch wings

Most people have seen the small, flying murals called butterflies.  Nature’s living pieces of art that remain an endless show of life and beauty drawn upon wings of flight.  The carrier of this splendor, a delicate butterfly. 

A butterfly has four wings – two on each side. They are broken into two forewings and two hindwings. The wings are attached to the second and third thoracic segments. When a butterfly is in flight, the wings move up and down in a figure-eight pattern.

Butterfly wings are made up of two chitinous layers. Each wing is covered by thousands of colorful scales and hairs.  These wing scales are tiny overlapping pieces of chitin on a butterfly wing only seen in detail under a microscope. They are attached at the body wall and are modified, plate-like setae or hairs.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

Cow parsnip: A plant with bite

Get to Know New York’s Natives: Cow Parsnip

Caution: This native plant can cause burns on skin

If you follow DEC on any social media platforms, it’s hard to miss that giant hogweed season is upon us. Giant hogweed is a large invasive plant from Eurasia that contains sap which can cause burning on your skin. Giant hogweed is found in many parts of the state (particularly Western and Central NY), but there are many look-alike species that can often get misidentified as this plant.

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Get to Know New York’s Natives: White Meadowsweet

White meadowsweet (Spiraea alba) is a native flowering shrub that blooms in much of New York State during July and August. The plants grows to be about four to six feet high and is found in sunny areas with damp soils such as meadows (as the name suggests), fields, and wetlands.

White meadowsweet can be identified by its five-petaled white or pinkish flowers. A splash of stamens cause the flowers to appear fuzzy or frilly from afar. The stem has lance-shaped alternative leaves that are toothed around the edges. This member of the rose (Rosaceae) family is popular with a variety of butterfly species and is a common sight across the eastern United States and Canada.

 


Saturday, August 29, 2020

On the search for the elusive moose

Wednesday morning I rolled out of bed a little before 5 a.m. to meet up with Explorer intern Francesca Krempa to see if we could catch a glimpse of a moose in the early dawn hours.

Francesca is working on a story about the health and size of the moose population, and in these pandemic times, she had been unable to find a biologist or guide to go out into the field on a moose survey.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Honeybee Festooning: Stretching for the Comb

One of the most amazing activities in a honeybee’s lifetime is rarely seen by humans and occurs by the workings of numerous architect-minded, honeycomb-building, wax-producing bees. 

Building comb is a multi-skill effort, involving bees strung from comb to comb like a tapestry of lacework, hanging together leg to leg in sheets between the frames to build new comb in a process called “festooning.”  While festooning, bees measure the open space, create blueprints for future comb, act as self-made scaffolding, promoting stretching of the abdomen which aids in wax production.

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